A fireside chat between Mayor Eric Garcetti and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk is among the highlights expected from the National League of Cities 2018 City Summit conference, which continues Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Around 3,800 city leaders and delegates from across the country are expected at the summit, which will feature conference workshops, educational seminars and a lineup of keynote speakers which also includes journalist and former California First Lady of Maria Shriver and Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan.
“City Summit is an incredible opportunity for America’s city leaders to come together, learn from each other, and raise our voices in unison on the issues that cities, towns and villages across the country face each day,” said NLC President Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas. “Washington may be divided, but local leaders are united in our responsibility to find solutions to the challenges we’re facing in our communities. From investing in infrastructure to fighting the opioid epidemic to adapting to a changing economy, local leadership has never been more important to move the country forward.”
The summit began Wednesday with some workshops and other activities and is scheduled to finish on Saturday, with the opening general session set for Thursday.
Garcetti is scheduled to open the summit with a 12:30 p.m. news conference, followed by a chat with Musk, which is likely to garner a lot of attention after Musk has been the subject of numerous controversial media stories the last few months.
Musk, CEO of Tesla, smoked marijuana with comedian Joe Rogan during a September podcast interview. Tesla’s shares went down as much as 9 percent the next day and closed down 6 percent.
A British diver who helped rescue a dozen boys from a flooded cave in Thailand recently sued Musk for libel and slander, alleging the Tesla chief executive defamed him by falsely calling him a pedophile on Twitter.
Musk has had other public relations problems over the summer. Tesla has seen mass layoffs, the loss of several top executives and a slowdown in production.
Musk also was investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission after he announced on Twitter in August that he was considering taking Tesla private for $420 a share and implied that he had the funding to do so “secured.” He later backed away from the plan. Musk reached an agreement with the SEC in September to step aside as chairman of the company for three years and pay a $20 million fine.
Musk has also gave an interview to the New York Times in August in which he said he gets very little sleep and relies on the sleep drug Ambien. The Times also reported that he cried during an interview when discussing the personal toll running his companies takes on him, although Musk later denied crying and said his voice only cracked once.
The city of Los Angeles is in the process of evaluating several of Musk-backed projects, including a system of underground tunnels aimed at reducing surface level auto traffic through his Boring Company. Another of Musk’s companies, SpaceX, was also granted permission by the city in May to develop an 18-acre site at the Port of Los Angeles to build a rocket for manned flights to Mars.
Following the marijuana incident, Garcetti was asked by City News Service during a September news conference about Musk.
“Great guy, sometimes smokes some pot in interviews,” Garcetti joked at first before the question was complete.
When asked if he was concerned Musk’s behavior could jeopardize any of the projects the city is pursuing with his companies, Garcetti said, “I’ve been greatly impressed with what Elon has produced. He’s always somebody whose pushing the boundary, literally in space, underground and on land — all three dimensions, as well as the virtual one.”
He added, “He’s been somebody who attracts incredible talent. I think everybody gets so fixated on his personality. I don’t run the city by myself, and he doesn’t run his companies by himself. The people that are working around him, the people at the Boring Company are incredible engineers. It’s a big risk. Will it work? We don’t know, but I want L.A. to be the place where people do test that.”
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: